By Raymund Antonio
The Filipino Australian community got of glimpse on how Filipino women were able to get out of abusive relationships through economic empowerment at the welcome reception of Australia Philippines Business Council held in Sydney, Australia.
Perla, a single mother from Roxas City, Capiz, was a battered wife for 25 years during her relationship with her abusive husband. She was able to raise their nine children by selling wind chimes and other crafts made of seashells.
Another Filipina named Jingle was forced by husband to quit her job, but she made a living from weaving.
While Perla and Jingle suffered violence and discrimination from their husbands, they were able to achieve real independence after they become economically empowered.
Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo shared their stories in a speech before a crowd attending the event organized by the APBC in the southern country.
“It is these stories of Perla and Jingle when women can stand economically on their own two feet when they feel strong enough to stand against abusive relationship,” Robredo said.
Robredo talked about the important role of women in strengthening economies and the need for further gender inclusion.
Women empowerment is one of her key advocacies in her flagship anti-poverty program, Angat Buhay.
The lady official noted how Filipino women have been “more relevant and recognized” nowadays.
“The Philippines has been doing very well as far as gender gap index is concerned. We are number 8 in the world and number 1 in Southeast Asia,” she said.
But while the Philippines may be considered one of the most gender-equal countries, Robredo said much work is still needed to be done for women empowerment, especially those in far-flung and poor communities.
“This disparity and inequality among women must be discussed because the plight of marginalized women can’t remain invisible to the rest of the world forever,” she said.
“It is our duty to talk about women empowerment for all women not just for those in the board rooms or positions the world deems important,” Robredo stressed.